Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pre-dawn writings and Melina Marchetta books

Sunrise at 7:52, sunset at 5:53.

Can't sleep, don't want to read, only now after days of staying away from my computer want to write. Keep walking from room to room, picking stuff up, putting it down, forgetting why I picked it up in the first place. Sad , sad, sad. Finally ready to put that aside and get on with making things better.

I don't often feel sad for myself so it's felt really indulgent to actually want to wallow in it. I couldn't even talk to D about it because I didn't want to be jollied into a different emotion. Time to push it aside and go on.

The best thing about not being able to sleep is actually getting up instead of just turning and turning and turning trying to get back to sleep. I love watching what's going on out in the world at this time of day. The sky is clear and the stars are brilliant, even from inside. While I sit and watch the few cars go by on I-90, wondering where they've been and where they're going, the sky begins to cloud up, wind moving them south and over Beacon Hill as the earth begins to warm.

I sit in the dark, I drink my coffee, the cat sits in the window, her ears and head flicking from branch to leaf as they bounce in the wind. Trains sound their horns, planes depart from Boeing and SeaTac, trucks use their big brakes and the sound bounces across the valley.

I wait for the first lightening of the sky, the very first light as it hits the windows of the buildings on Beacon Hill, and, if the sky is clear, the windows will flame. It is the most exquisite color, and it is gone so soon.

Just finished reading Melina Marchetta's newest book, a companion volume to Saving Francesca, The Piper's Son. I have loved every one of her books and she only gets better and better.

The Piper's Son takes place 5 years after Francesca, and our main character, Tom, is in a seriously downward spiral. So is his family. Beloved uncle, brother, son Joe died in a London train bombing a couple of years before and the grieving's never ended. Dad, Dom, has left the family because of his alcoholism, Aunt Georgie is pregnant at 42 by her ex-boyfriend, someone she can't forgive, and Tom's run his only true love away because he is in continual mourning for his family and can't or won't talk about it.

All these things come to a head when Grandfather Tom's remains, he was killed in Vietnam, may have been discovered and coming home. Guilt, grief, love, joy, massive loneliness, all make for a glorious stew in which The Piper's Son makes horrible mistakes and finally gets a chance to redeem himself.

It is laugh out loud funny but I found myself with tears in my eyes a lot of the time (hmmm. This was the last book I read before I got sad. Hmm.). I love how realistic her characters are and how believable the dialogue is. Her adults are flawed and horrible and I really like that the adults' stories are entwined with Tom's, Tara's, and Francesca's. It's nice to have access to books for teens that show how hard it is to ever grow up, that we (the adults) are inventing the present and the future as we go-that the basic map we think we follow often leads us into "here there be dragons" territory.

The Piper's Son will be available in March, 2011, and you will have plenty of time to read Saving Francesca, Searching for Alibrandi, Jellicoe Road, and Finnikin of the Rock by then!

(Nice interview with Melina here. I can call her Melina, like I feel I can call J K Rowling "Jo", because we shared a meal. Once. Thank you to all those amazing publisher's reps who make these pre-publication dinners possible. And their publishers, duh. )

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